[e2e] Re: crippled Internet

Henning G. Schulzrinne hgs at cs.columbia.edu
Wed Apr 18 08:21:09 PDT 2001

RJ Atkinson wrote:
> At 11:04 18/04/01, Henning G. Schulzrinne wrote:
> >If there was a more load-sensitive charging scheme,
> >where you could pay on 95th percentile or some peak-hour load
> >or some other variation of congestion pricing, there would be
> >less perceived need to force every residential user into
> >web-browsing-only, please, mode.
>         While I disagree that we have widespread ISPs in
> North American that restrict customers to email and web only,
> I agree that a more load-sensitive charging scheme would
> be an approach worth mulling over.
>         There are a bunch of issues there, starting with higher
> fixed costs for accounting of bytes/packets and more expensive
> billing systems, but worth mulling over nonetheless.

There are various stories that billing costs 40, 50 percent or some
other large fraction of a telephone call. I suspect that, if true, this
has to do with managing the billing relationship, not so much the fact
of collecting information.  A large fraction of the billing cost is
fixed (maintain account, send the repo man or the guy with the baseball
bat, pay for stamps and envelope), regardless of whether the bill is
detailed (but short of having to send a box full of paper, as AT&T was
prone to do for their business customers) or a single dollar number.

I suspect that a large fraction of the cost is also dealing with billing
disputes, or having somebody answer the phone to remove a call that had
poor quality. (Anybody called their LD carrier recently to contest a
call?) I think a good billing system has the property that a customer
can monitor their own resource usage and compute their own bill with
very high accuracy, without having to trust the measurements of a
not-so-disinterested third party. Apparently, even Deutsche Telekom,
that just used to send a simple statement with "you made 1847 units of
calls last month, now pay X DM", wised up to that fact.

>         One wonders if a future Internet might have some form
> of congestion-sensitive charging scheme tied in with the
> congestion avoidance mechanism, to bring this thread back
> on topic...
> Ran
> rja at inet.org

Henning Schulzrinne   http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~hgs

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